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Five Ways The Seahawks Can Clinch A Playoff Spot In Week 16

A look at the Seahawks' playoff-clinching scenarios for Week 16. 

UPDATE (12/22/18): With Washington's 25-16 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Saturday, the Seahawks can now clinch a playoff spot with a win on Sunday night over the Kansas City Chiefs. With Washington's defeat, Seattle could also clinch a playoff spot with a tie against the Chiefs as well as a Philadelphia Eagles loss or tie. The Eagles face the Houston Texans at 10 a.m. PT on Sunday, while the Seahawks kick off at 5:20 p.m. PT.


The Seahawks missed out on a chance to clinch a playoff berth in Week 15 by losing to the San Francisco 49ers, but they have another shot this week to secure their seventh postseason berth in nine seasons under Pete Carroll and John Schneider when they host the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football.

Unlike last week, the Seahawks won't clinch with a win alone, the reason being that a win over the 49ers would have improved Seattle's conference record, one of the tiebreakers should they finish the year tied with another NFC playoff hopeful, while a win this week over an AFC opponent would not change its conference record.

So here are the five ways the Seahawks can clinch this weekend:

  1. Seattle win and Washington loss or tie.
  2. Seattle win or tie and Minnesota loss.
  3. Seattle win and Seattle clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over Washington.
  4. Seattle win and Minnesota tie and Seattle clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over Minnesota.
  5. Seattle tie and Washington loss and Philadelphia loss or tie.

If you're wondering about the strength of victory tiebreaker, that comes into play if a tie can't be settled by head-to-head, conference record or record against common opponents. It's basically what it sounds like—a measurement of how strong a team's wins are based on the combined record of those teams they have beaten.

The Chiefs, meanwhile, have clinched a playoff berth, but they still have plenty to play for. Kansas City can clinch the AFC West and a first-round bye with a win and a Chargers loss, and can clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win and a Chargers loss and a Houston loss or tie, or with a win, a Chargers loss and a strength of victory tiebreaker over Houston.

Go behind the scenes with team photographer Rod Mar as he shares moments from the Seattle Seahawks' Week 15 game against the San Francisco 49ers.